These three levels of responsibilities are basically the domain of supervisory level, middle management level and top levels of managerial hierarchy respectively.
Lower-level managers and supervisors need information and feedback about daily, weekly and monthly activities. A production supervisor needs to know information regarding waste, quality, quantity, productivity gains and whether jobs have been completed on schedule. Personnel people may require daily and weekly figures on any job openings, interviews conducted and other personnel matters such as attendance records, turn-over records, and safety and so on. A sales manager needs to know the activities of his department in terms of how the sales people spend their time, how many sales they generate and the results of these sales.
Middle level managers or divisional heads, are concerned with the current and future performance of their units. They require summarized versions of the activities and problems in their respective departments.
Such information may be generated from within the organization or from outside sources for comparison purposes. For example, airline managers way want to know the traffic on other airlines for a given route for comparison with traffic on his own airline for the same route.
Functional managers, such as production managers need timely information about inventories, materials and labour costs, schedules to be met and so on. Marketing managers need sales figures by products or by various stores that the company may have, inventory levels of finished goods, delivery schedules and market-research activities. Financial managers need financial statements, budgets, capital expenditures, payroll figures, accounts payable and accounts receivable numbers and so on.
Top level management is primarily concerned with strategic planning and much of the information that top level managers need comes from outside sources. For strategic planning, information regarding general economic conditions, technological developments, action of competitors, political and legal developments and so on, assume paramount importance’3‘. Monitoring the external environment and recognizing opportunities and threats from such external environments can keep the organizations competitive.
For example, Texas Instruments computer hardware and software manufacturing company, based in America, was unable to find enough software designers in Europe in the 1980s. The company further found that India was training more software designers than it could use. The company established an impressive software programming operation in Bangalore, in South India.
Whatever the information and whatever the managerial level at which it is needed, the organization’s information system must provide it effectively and efficiently to those in need. According to Bittel, “information provides the substance for coordinating every aspect of the management process”.